Design: In this lifebelt-style design, Britannia, the Romano-Celtic warrior goddess long associated with Britain, leans back against a rock (presumably by the sea-shore, her usual habitat), happily listening to a phonograph draped with the Union Jack. Though retaining her Corinthian martial helmet, she has dispensed with her vicious pronged trident. In keeping with Victorian mores, her right breast, usually exposed, has been covered with a modest frilled gown. Label scan courtesy of music researcher and collector Bill Dean-Myatt of the U.K.
History: Thanks to Adam Miller of New Zealand for the following info: "[From Don Taylor's English 78 Picture Book,] Britannic dates from about 1910 and were sold for 2s. 6d. each under a 'tally-man' system*). The client contracted to buy a certain number of discs over a year (usually 50) at a fixed price. They were presented with a Lindström-built 'Ercophone' gramophone, which became their sole property at the end of the contract. The 'tally-man' went door to door with the record catalogue taking orders and collecting the cash. Britannic used matrices from Beka, Edison Bell, Nicole and the American Record Co. The pressing was originally done by Edison Bell, later by the Disc Record Co. of Harrow."
*The term 'tally-man' derives from the ancient accounting system known as 'taille,' whereby a cleft stick was split and marked with matching notches each time a payment was made, the seller and the buyer each keeping half of the stick. The perfectly matching pieces would thus provide a legal record of the number of payments made.